Customizing and TuningMy first mods!

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So after following the guides here, i've begun to start modding cars!

The first car I took apart was an old GT Racer whose wheels were all kinds of bent. My plan was to replace the wheels... although I soon learned that the tires I intended to place on it didn't fit... which was a bummer. So, instead of just putting it back together right away, I found a pair of needle-nose pliers and got the axel as straight as I could get it. In the end, wouldn't you know it, the car can perform again! Granted, it isn't exactly the next world champion, but it can keep up with the mid-tier cars!

After that, I learned from my mistakes and made sure to measure the wheels out better BEFORE taking the cars apart. I had an old Ferrari F40 which I love to death but it also had very bent axles and the opening rear trunk kept scrapping the tires as it drove, which stopped the car to a halt on the track. So! With the help of some JB Kwik and donated blue-line tires, I got the car working again! I feel that these wheels don't live up to the cars true potential, but its a bit too late to change them now. Still runs well though!

Heres a picture of the car:
(Forgive my horrible images, my phone does not make for a very good camera. >.>)

Diecast Cars, Hot Wheels, Matchbox

Lastly, I have a 68 El Camino whose engine appears to have fallen off. Instead of putting it back on, I decided that it kinda looked better without it anyway! So, I grabbed some leather and cut it into a small enough piece to place on the bed. Looks great now!

Diecast Cars, Hot Wheels, Matchbox

For my next project, I plan to go all out and do a complete change on a car. I have an old Zender Fact 4 which is in terrible condition that's just dying to get a new paint job and new wheels. It just so happens I have an extra set of FTE wheels from an Italia that would look just great on it too!

Very cool, modding can be a lot of fun if you have the time. I like the body on that GT racer.

Also, don't bother with straightening axles like that, just replace them. Find yourself some 1/16 tubing at a hobby store and trim a piece down to the width of your chassis. Than snip you axle in half and insert each part into the end of the tube with some JB Kwik (don't use super glue). Boom, a new, straight wheels.

It works surprisingly well but it takes a while to get just right, so prepare for some trial-and-error. But once you get comfortable with it you can take any wheels from any car and fit them to any other car...skies the limit!

I have some photos somewhere, I'll try and post them.

I almost like restoring cars more than modding them, although I'm not very proficient at either as much as I would like. My first mod was a restoration of a Matchbox I got as a child.

Diecast Cars, Hot Wheels, Matchbox ... hallenger/

I saw that article, you did a great job on that!

I am wondering though, do you always remove the paint before painting it? Or can I can I just paint over old paint?

You don't have to remove the old paint, but you will have to lightly sand or "scuff" it to get good adhesion with the new paint. If you don't remove the old paint, any scratches or chips will show through the new paint.

Yeah, removal isn't required but I just do because it's pretty easy and quick. Plus I just love the look of the bare metal...makes me feel like I'm really doing something that requires effort All depends how smooth you want your mod or custom to look.

Be gets addicting! I've been working on alot of modifieds and customs lately. Some for performance, others just for show. I've been learning how to do detail painting.

I think it's best to strip the cars, but like Jason said, just a good scuff with sandpaper will give you a good base to paint on.
I think totally stripping it helps keep the door lines and details cleaner.

Be gets addicting! I've been working on alot of modifieds and customs lately. Some for performance, others just for show. I've been learning how to do detail painting.

I think it's best to strip the cars, but like Jason said, just a good scuff with sandpaper will give you a good base to paint on.
I think totally stripping it helps keep the door lines and details cleaner.

Ah, good point! I hadn't thought of that. I'll have to go buy some paint remover than.

Today I took apart three cars, the Zender Fact 4, The Italia and a beat-up Speed Blaster. I took the FTE wheels from the Italia and placed them on the Fact 4. Then took those Fact 4 wheels and replaced the beat-up ones in the Speed Blaster.

You may think thats kind of strange, but the reason I wanted to take apart the Fact 4 in the first place was because it's actually a duplicate of this car: link. Both cars were evenly matched speed wise, so I kept the one in better shape and decided fancy up the other one. Since the wheels it had were actually fairly decent (not amazing though), I decided to put some new life in a car whose wheels were so badly bent it couldn't even make it down the track.

Tomorrow, i'm going to go get some paint remover and begin painting! I plan to use acrylics as I have a lot of that laying around. I'm thinking about a dark red color with a gold stripe down the center. Should look great with the FTE wheels! Do you guys have any tips for painting with Acrylics?

I"m not sure how the acrylics will hold up but you might as well try. I use spray lacquer in little cans from Testors.

Soon you'll start buying cars just for the wheels/axles!
Last year I must have bought half a dozen Fast Fish FTE cars just for the wheels and axles. I didn't keep a single one intact!
You have to start looking at the bottoms of the cars to see how wide the chassis are at the axles to see what will match up with what you want to modify.

My first customs were all acrylics and they didn't turn out too bad, just make sure you give them a spray of clear gloss coat to protect it. If you have bottles of acrylics, just expect to see all the brush strokes, you just can't avoid it. They do have spray acrylics at the hobby store and they work really well and are a great alternative to the enamels and lacquers. The acrylics give you a good chance at doing tiny details because they dry quickly and are very forgiving, enamels not so much.

Most of the customs I've painted already I used craft spray paint from Home Depot. They are pretty bold colors and they don't have any sparkles or metallics like the bottled enamels have, but they're good for quick work and don't look too bad. The ones I've used are gloss enamels so they don't even require a clear coat if you don't want to (but I always do).

If you check out the Redline blog under the "Customizing" section you'll find a few articles I wrote about painting and decals. Store decals work really well but the DIY decals are pretty hit and miss. In Nashville, Jason showed me a van he detailed with temporary tattoos, which I thought was a great idea but I have yet to try it.

Customizing is a lot of fun, I just wish I had more time to do it. But Jobe is right, it can become deceivingly expensive! Beware!!

The fun part is when you get to the scratch built chassis and plumbed/wired engines.

My customs have all evolved into exhibition racers, it lets me have some fun since I don't get to race very often.

Stripping and starting with a fresh base is always best. if you are really looking to preserve the detail, then I suggest using an airbrush. When painting a race car, keep in mind that the paint WILL CHIP at some point. Either make it so it's easily touched up, or just accept that chips add character to a race car.

Picture this car:

Diecast Cars, Hot Wheels, Matchbox

With FTE Wheels and a faded Hotwheels logo. I love me some Speed Blasters! As far as FTE's go it's my slowest but not by much. It's still an FTE meaning its wicked fast and beats the pants off of stock wheels!

An update on my other project: I couldn't find Airplane Remover (Which is too bad, I love that name!), but found a similar product which worked just fine. I dunked both my Fact 4 and some random Phaeton into it to remove the paint and then applied primer to both. Both are just waiting on paint now!

Thanks for the tips everyone! So far everything has worked exactly as you've all said it would.

And to Jobe, i've already started buying cars for the axel's and wheels. haha. It's too late for me! I'm on my third FTE Italia now and my second FTE Triumph (which I still haven't decided what to do with). The Italia wheels are perfect for almost all of my favorite car designs I'm sure i'll be getting a lot more in the near future!

Yup, the Italia axles fit alot. Last year it was the GTO and Vette for me, I harvested alot of those!

An Update! I found a nice camera and went to town taking pictures that weren't crap of my mods.

I Sorta finished my Fact 4. It looks AMAZING. However, I need to clear coat it. Problem is, i'm a bit afraid to do it. haha. I used a Phaeton as my test subject throughout the whole project, and when I clear-coated the car it destroyed it. It looks atrocious. I need to strip it down again and do something different. I think I know what I did wrong, but until I get the Phaeton looking good, I'm not going to mess with my Fact 4. Here is what the car looks like at the moment:

Diecast Cars, Hot Wheels, Matchbox

(Ended up using Spray Paint instead of Acrylics. I think it was a good decision!)

Since the tires that were on this Fact 4 were still in decent condition... and were ULTRA HOTS (Only the most awesome looking wheels ever). I decided to slap them on a Speed Blaster which was in dire condition.

Diecast Cars, Hot Wheels, Matchbox

Next, I mentioned not knowing what to do with FTE Triumph wheels. Well. I figured it out. I found a car which was in perfect condition still, but happened to be a dud out of the package. The original wheels on it were scraping against the chassis and the car just didn't move. SO, I put on the FTE wheels and it looks good! Runs great too.

Diecast Cars, Hot Wheels, Matchbox

Lastly, here are some updated images of my other mods. Plus, the FTE Speed Blasters I was talking about before:

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Diecast Cars, Hot Wheels, Matchbox

Diecast Cars, Hot Wheels, Matchbox

Those look good, keep it up. I did a bunch and took a break but been working on a few the last 2 days since I didn't get to go to the kustom convention this weekend.

Just curious, but what happened when you tried to clear coat it?

Just curious, but what happened when you tried to clear coat it?

Well, the first coat I put on I didn't cover the car fully, so when I put on a second coat it got bubbles all over it. Not only that, but it was extremely hot and humid out that day and the bottle says: For best results don't use on extremely humid days and in degrees over 85. Which is was both of. Well over it. haha.

the first car that i altered was a purple '40 woody... couldn't stand it stock... i sanded one front fender top to metal, painted the other satin black, dark browned one door, blacked out one wheel, added wide white to one wheel, scratched cracks into the pass. side windshield, darn thing ran like a prom queen trying to get home before midnight,,, beat every car i had... still have it, bent wheels and all.

Thought i'd update this. A year later I finally felt like I had the experience to finish this darn Fact 4... and I'm so glad I was patient enough to wait. It looks AMAZING. I went out and bought a different brand of clear coat and i'm very glad that I did it. The surface is glass like and this thing just shines now. Had to do some cutting of the inside plastics for it to make the Featherweight Challenge limit but I did it!

Here is a close up of the finished car...

Diecast Cars, Hot Wheels, Matchbox

For stripping paint off a car for repainting...I just use some oven cleaner, let it set in the sun, and respray it several times, and then wash it off with a S.O.S cleaning pad. I haven't had any problems with getting the paint off...and it's cheap!


welcome to the featherweight challenge series thing looks good... fast ?

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